VETERANS FOR PEACE, Chapter 23, MEETING MINUTES 1/15/20 [PROPOSED MINUTES TO BE VOTED ON AT THE NEXT MEETING FEBRUARY 19, 2020]
Present: James Swarts, Marybeth Knowles, Bruce Pease, Bruce Freeman, William Fisher---Meeting held at Swiftwater Brewery.
Treasurer’s report by Marybeth Knowles. Current balance, including dues paid at the meeting and a $50 donation mailed in by Marvin Ritzenhaler--$985.02; $200 approved donation to Riseup not paid yet; Although $200 was approved for the website at the November meeting, it was agreed that, because Bruce F is renewing his website for another year, the VFP website will be remain on Bruce F’s website and a VFP-appropriate website address will be assigned to it. $100 donation to the national office for tabling material provided to Chapter 23 last year was approved.
SAVE OUR VA WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE CALL---January 13, 2020; Bruce Pease, James Swarts participated.
Topics raised in the call or raised at our meeting in the discussion of the call:
Preparation for February 9-13 meeting of the AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) in Washington DC.
So far there does not seem to be much coordination between VFP and the AFGE. Housing and food to be provided for VFP members at a church. Jim S will put out a notice to Chapter 23 members to see if anyone will attend. Jim S cannot attend. No decision on whether to contribute any funds to the conference.
Voted to choose one of two proposed versions of a new “Save Our VA” t-shirt.
POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN (PPC) UPDATE---Marybeth Knowles
Rev. Barber is coming to Rochester February 7, 2020 as part of the M.O.R.E Tour (mobilizing, organizing, registering and educating). He will visit a homeless shelter in the morning where people staying at the shelter will speak. Rev. Barber will speak at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church at 141 Adams Street, Rochester, NY from 7 to 9 pm. James S suggested getting there early and assembling as a group before going in. The flyer for the event will be put up on the VFP website and Facebook page.
There will be a Poor People' s Campaign rally in Washington DC on June 20, 2020 (anniversary of the launch of the campaign by Martin Luther King). The local SEIU (Service Employees International Union) is chartering a bus and there will be no associated cost for Chapter 23 members. We need to notify the local SEIU of the number of seats (on the bus) needed for Chapter 23 members.
Marybeth attended a Poor People's Campaign gathering in Albany at the capitol last weekend. The bus for the event originated in Buffalo and picked up people along the way to Albany. The focus of the gathering was health care and housing. The group was large and made their presence known with a band and singing. There will be similar events aimed at legislators in the future.
Marybeth attended the Alternative Fair in December 2019 on behalf of the Poor People's Campaign. She indicated there were not many vendors and it was not well attended.
NO WAR ON IRAN RALLY ON JANUARY 9, 2020---James Swarts
The rally, which was organized by Rochester-area youth, including a Brighton High School student, was held in front of the Federal Building on State Street, Rochester, NY on January 9, 2020. The rally was well-attended by Chapter 23 members. Both Jim Swarts and Jack Spula spoke to the gathering. Photographs of the event have been distributed by email to Chapter 23 members and the event was covered by local news outlets.
UPDATE ON “WAR SCHOOL: THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN’S CHILDREN”---Bruce Pease
The Cinema Theatre in Rochester has agreed to show the movie. Bruce P will arrange for a specific date. Cost, including the publicity package, is estimated to be less than $250. Questions remain whether the DVD should be purchased, whether the Cinema can show a DVD, whether there should be an admission charge or simply a request for donations, whether the director of the movie will be Skyped-in during the showing, and whether, if the DVD is purchased, the movie should be shown at schools as well. Jim S suggested we need a month to publicize the showing.
DONATION TO NATIONAL FOR TABLING MATERIALS PROVIDED TO CH 23---James Swarts
$100 was approved for office buttons, stickers, flyers, etc. provided by the national office to Chapter 23 last year.
VFP WEBSITE--- Bruce Freeman
Bruce F had previously put up a bare-bones, experimental website to facilitate a discussion of what should be on the site.
There were no objections to what is on the experimental site now.
There was no agreement on how decisions about what should be on the site should be made. Bruce F suggested there should be such a mechanism for both the website and the Facebook page.
It was suggested that the site should have, at the top, information explaining what Veterans for Peace is, what Veterans for Peace stands for, etc. It was suggested that such information could be taken from the national site.
It was suggested that the order of the contents of the site on the Home Page be changed so that “Meeting Minutes” and “Bylaws” are not at the top, for example.
It was suggested there should be graphics and photographs on the site.
It was suggested the site has a dual purpose—public (attracting new members) and private (internal business).
Bruce F indicated he will learn how to put up photographs.
Bruce F made the point that he is not a website designer and does not have the time or the interest to learn website-design skills. Bruce F reiterated that his current limited skills allow him to create a website that is essentially an electronic filing cabinet with the Home Page acting as an index for the contents, which can include photographs, original website pages (like the Meeting Minutes and the Upcoming Events), and pdf documents (like the Bylaws and flyers), etc.
GLOBAL “NO WAR WITH IRAN” PROTEST ON JANUARY 25, 2020---Bruce Freeman
The VFP Chapter 23 experimental website has a page devoted to the January 11, 2020, teach-in offered by the Answer Coalition about the current Iran/Iraq crisis with a link to the three-hour video.
A global “No War With Iran” protest is to be held on January 25, 2020. A list of the protest-locations is available on the Answer Coalition’s website. As of January 15, 2020, the two protests closest to Rochester are in Geneseo and Buffalo at noon. There are links to the specifics of those protests on the “No War with Iran” page of the VFP Chapter 23 experimental website.
2020 PLANNING—James Swarts
Because only five members were present, the 2020 planning discussion was postponed.
“NO WAR WITH IRAN” JANUARY 13, 2020 CONFERENCE CALL
No one from Chapter 23 participated in the call. A summary of what was discussed is forthcoming from the national office.
POST-HOLIDAY SOCIAL GATHERING---James Swarts
It was agreed there will be no post-holiday social gathering but there will be a summer picnic.
NATIONAL VFP ELECTRONIC VOTING—James Swarts
The members had differing opinions about whether electronic voting should replace the current paper ballot system. The reliability of electronic voting was questioned. How should the chapter respond?
DINNER WITH THE COMMUNITY---Marybeth Knowles
From the Gandhi Institute website: “Let’s connect, talk, mourn, celebrate, exchange stories, create ideas, dream, and get to know each other over a nice shared meal! Participation is donation based, just give what you can. …”
Dinners on January 19, February 6 and February 23, 2020, at 6 pm at the Gandhi House, 929 S Plymouth Ave, Rochester, NY.
WOMEN MARCH IN SENECA FALLS---William Fisher
From the Women March website: “Women March in Seneca Falls 2020 Weekend is an inclusive, non-partisan 3-day event to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.”
4th Annual RALLY & MARCH, Trinity Park, Seneca Falls, NY, January 18, 2020, 12:30 pm.
Next meeting: February 19, 2020, 7 pm, Gandhi House, 929 S Plymouth Ave, Rochester, NY.